Creating customer experience when the customer is unknown

customer experience

Knowing your customer and developing the product and service accordingly is the key. We speak with Claire Donnellan, Manager, Service Strategy and Customer Experience at Sydney Airport on how customer experience is created when one does not know who exactly the customer is.

Why is Customer Experience important?

Customers are at the heart of everything we do. It is important that everyone who visits the airport can enjoy a pleasant, relaxing and seamless experience. For many travellers, this will be their first time in Sydney and Australia and we take very seriously the role we play in creating a positive first impression of our city and State. We’re focused on working with both our local communities and all of our on-precinct partners and stakeholders to ensure Sydney Airport continues to make a positive contribution to NSW. Indeed, the airport contributes $38 billion to the state and national economy each year and generates or supports more than 338,000 jobs.

How do you measure customer experience?

Sydney Airport responds to feedback from its customers across multiple channels and surveys more than 17,000 travellers. We take this feedback combined with input from other stakeholder engagement then implement initiatives that focus on improving the airport experience for all of the 43 million customers that pass-through Sydney Airport each year. Sydney Airport engages regularly with stakeholders to continually find new ways to strengthen the airport experience

This data helps us to understand key drivers for customer satisfaction, assess the impacts of our initiatives on the passenger journey, track success from our investment, via customer sentiment, benchmark our performance against other airports and inform future planning and investment priorities.

What are some of the challenges to overcome?

There are 800 diverse businesses, across the Sydney Airport precinct, all with their own individual requirements. We work closely with each to understand these, and incorporate in our on-going improvements, where possible. Implementation is assessed along with passenger expectations, to continually improve the airport experience while maintaining an efficient operation.

This also involves meeting airline operating requirements and efficiencies and airport capacity. Above all, we are focused on delivering a true service quality culture. This is underpinned by an agreed investment strategy which sets out a pipeline of projects to support the various objectives. We have taken a holistic approach to improving our customers’ experience, with areas of focus including bathroom facilities, gate comfort, wayfinding, terminal ambience and presentation and customer service.

What technologies/initiatives can you do to take the first steps to improving customer experience?

Understanding customer needs is very important and the first step is listening to feedback that comes though surveys and feedback mechanisms on our website. Leveraging digital platforms and social presence that encourages feedback, builds on our understanding of what the customer wants. Combined with a customer relationship management application enables data that provides insights into how a product or service can be improved. 

Another avenue is to provide digital options to enable the customer to control their own journey. An example of this is assisting customers to find their way around the airport by making Sydney Airport terminal maps available through the digital channels that they are most familiar with. Customers can use platforms such as google maps to find their way through the terminal areas. These maps give visitors visibility of airport location information at the touch of a button, and travellers now enjoy the benefits of accessing this information as they navigate through the terminal to reach their gate. Also enhancing the customer experience is the display of queue wait times in International departures for both security and passport processing along with customer taxis queue wait times.  


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